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I’m Not Getting Stronger

strongPlease, God, I pray this time it sticks…

Old habits. Hard to break. Old thought patterns–even harder to eradicate. It seems as though these things are like a spreading weed and every time you think you’ve got your garden clear, you find another one.

Like I said, I’m praying this time I finally get it. I need the truth of the all-sufficiency of Christ and His redemption. I need the living reality of grace.

I need to know I’m not strong.

Maybe you’re the same way, but I can get duped into thinking if I don’t commit a certain sin or don’t fail in a certain area for a time, I’m getting stronger. I’m making it past it. I can feel a sense of pride or accomplishment, but that’s always the beginning of the end.

It’s all downhill from there, as they say.

The illusion of my strength has to be eradicated from my thinking. It’s a lie to think I’m overcoming with Christ’s help. Sounds so good and spiritual.

Christ isn’t helping me. He’s conforming me to His image (Romans 8:30). It’s not a path of self-help and bettering myself by getting past the sins that cause me shame. He’s transforming every area of my life until I look like Him.

It’s hard to remember though.

When you go to the gym, work out, or change your diet, you want to know that your time is producing results. You want to see muscles growing or a slimmer figure. You want to feel better. And when we carry that attitude into our relationship with God, we’re in trouble.

God’s not results-oriented in that way. He’s not obsessed or preoccupied with making you stronger. He is strength, and you need only Him.

Concerning this [thorn in the flesh] I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. –2 Corinthians 12:8-10

If God were upset by your weakness, He could take care of it. Your struggles or failures aren’t the topic of heaven’s strategy sessions–“what are we going to do about him/her?” His answer? Grace.

Embrace the weakness so His power can be displayed. I’m not moving on. I’m not getting stronger. I can boast in weakness because of grace. When I deny grace, I despise those weaknesses and I become obsessed with overcoming them.

In grace, I’m overwhelmed with Him and His love. Truth is more important than feeling accomplished. What He’s producing is more precious than being “done.”

Jesus’ power didn’t come from being sinless. It came from His union to the Father. Your strength is not obtained or sustained through abstaining from this or that. You’re strong when you recognize He’s your strength.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Do you ever struggle with this?


Had a scheduling issue, but this post was supposed to appear this morning. 🙂

6 Comments

  1. I needed these words and reminders today, Jason. Yes, His strength working through us is all we need. Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..What If . . . ?My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Martha. Blessings to you!

  2. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. That is what He wants.
    Bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Stone11My Profile

    • I’m glad He doesn’t leave us without strength--it’s just got to be His. He’s the source. Everything else fails and proves inferior. Thanks Bill.

  3. This idea that self-help and self-improvement are farces has been sort of haunting me recently. There is so much information out there, and I even gravitate toward writing about it on my blog, about how to improve self that I think we focus too much on what we can do instead of getting out of God’s way and letting him change the way we think. He doesn’t just change our thoughts. He goes even before the thoughts exist and into changing our thinking. Only God can do that. I’ll stop myself here because my thoughts aren’t totally solid on this yet. But, I feel like there needs to be a shift away from self-improvement for me. We’ll see.
    Kari Scare recently posted..Don’t Forget to Remember!My Profile

    • Great points, Kari. That’s definitely where I find myself right now. Strategies for organization and achieving certain goals is great, but it doesn’t translate to our relationship with the Father and His transforming grace. I’ll keep searching with you, Kari. Thanks so much.

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